Friday, May 31, 2013

End of the School Year Checklist

As each school year wraps up, each teacher has certain routines and things on their to do list to check off. Here are some things that I do (and most of you probably do as well!) each year to help get my classroom ready and organized to make the transition to summer school and fall easier. Most of these can be done with the help of your students which will make it much easier and quicker! If you have some end of the year tips and suggestions, please share and I will share some in a future post.

- Clean off & wipe desks or tables

- Wipe down & dust other surfaces such as counter tops, book shelves, etc..

- File away any folders that are out

- Update or remove materials from bulletin boards and signs that are irrelevant for the new year

- Clean out inside of desks and any areas where students store their work

- Decide what to do with any plants or animals you keep in your classroom

- Return any materials you borrowed from other staff members or classrooms

- Clean & wipe down your board

- Unplug and put away any electronic items

- Pick up items that can be easily moved from off the floor (often deep floor cleaning happens during breaks!)

- Clearly label or take home any personal items

- Store materials that are out back in their place - TIP - As you store materials, see what you are low on and write it down so when you get new supplies in the fall or over the summer you will know what you need without having to check again.

- Create new or blank charts for your new students

- Make sure all food is removed from the classroom

- Lock up any confidential information or files

- Now is a great time to clear out any clutter in your classroom that has accumulated over the year

- Return any graded work

If you have extra time & extra hands from the help of students, here are some bonus tasks:

- Have students sharpen pencils or colored pencils to prepare for the next school year

- Have students test markers and throw away ones that don't work or try this watercolor idea

- Soak the tops of glue bottles in hot water to make them easy to use and free of clogs

Did I forget something important? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day!

Lesson Lady and I would like to wish you a happy Memorial Day!  We hope that your weekend was filled with rest, relaxation and reflection.

We're down to the last few weeks of school, if we aren't done already.  Here's wishing a speedy and fun filled sprint to the finish line!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Enormous Deal for Teachers!

Although we normally post fabulous freebies on Fridays, I had to let everyone know about this deal. It is such a good value and it's hard to say that you will find a better deal out there.

Teachers Notebook has asked their sellers to donate one of their teaching products to be included in a bundle. More than 350 sellers, including myself, have donated a product making this bundle worth more than $2,000 and includes more than 500 products! How do you get this enormous bundle with more than 500 educational products? Donate at least $20. Getting more than 500 products for only $20, or more if you wish, is an unheard of deal! Even if you donate $100 it is still less than 20 cents for each product! 100% of the proceeds of this donation will be given to the victims of the Moore, OK tragedy.

If you'd like to see what products are included in this deal, visit the Teachers Notebook website.

I have included my Spring Fast Finishers Art Packet towards the cause and this is a fun packet for the downtime classrooms may have near the end of the school year.

This deal will last until May 28th.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tips for Teachers Applying for a New Job

It is that time of year again.  It is time for teachers to contemplate whether they are going return again in the fall or apply for another position.  Even if you are returning, you likely know people who are going to be applying and/or interviewing.  So, this week's article features some tips for preparing, applying and interviewing.

1) Do your research.  You don't want to end up in a school with a philosophy that does not match your own because it will be difficult to go rogue and most likely unappreciated by the rest of the staff.  On the other hand, trying to fit in and be someone you are not will leave you unhappy  So, try to find out the policy regarding discipline and education.  No school is perfect and most of us cannot afford to be too picky, but trying to find the best fit is important for everyone involved.

2) Create a file (digital or paper) with all of your important documents.  Have your credentials, test scores, letters of recommendation, resume, important contact numbers for requesting transcripts, etc handy.  If you have a portfolio, make sure you know where that is, as well.

3) Put the word out that you are looking for a new position with people who know people.  This could be an email to a cohort or professional development group who may know of open positions.  Schools use these connections because they want to find people who they think would be a good fit to assuage the pain of losing staff and retraining new hires in the hopes they will work out.  These connections are helpful for you as well in finding positions that would be a good fit because your contacts know you and details about the position that needs filling.  If you aren't involved with an organization, consider doing so.  This could be as simple as volunteering somewhere once a month.

4) Know yourself and how to answer common interview questions.  Some of the most frequently asked are:

  • Tell us about yourself.
  • How do you ensure you are teaching to the state standards?
  • How do you prepare students for standardized testing?
  • What is your philosophy on teaching and learning?
  • What is your discipline philosophy?
  • What do you do to make sure the needs of all students are met, especially those with an IEP?
  • How do you form relationships with parents and the community?
  • What educational programs have you used in the past?  What are you familiar with?
  • What is your greatest strength?
  • What is your greatest weakness?  What will you do to work on this area?
  • Describe one of the best lessons you've ever taught.
  • Give me some examples of how you are a team player.

5) Start applying now if you haven't already!  Schools are finding out now who is and isn't returning and some start looking to fill slots immediately.  Don't lose hope, though, if nothing materializes right away.  I know so many teachers who were hired at the last minute, myself included.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Fabulous Friday Freebies--Memorial Day

Summer is about to start, and there are a few holidays left to squeeze in!  The first is a holiday formerly known as Decoration Day: Memorial Day.  This day is more than just one last day off for those of us who teach until June.  Below is a list of free resources to use to teach your students what the day is all about.

#1TeacherVision is a site with Memorial Day printables for all grades.  It is easy to navigate, and can be a useful site for a number of other themes in the future, as well.

#2-For a reading comprehension activity that shares some quick facts about the day click here.  (Note: this is best for grammar school age readers.)

#3-Memorial Day Crafts is a site with a number of crafts including patriotic wreaths and wall decorations.

#4-Click here for a reading on Memorial Day.  There are also some activities on this site that you can use to supplement your lesson.

#5-Play patriotic bump with this free game.

#6-Memorial Day Packet is a collection of activities that include a word search, a template for a letter to a soldier and an acrostic poem.

#7-Memorial Day Cause and Effect Game.  Students flip over flag cards with causes and effects and try to match them.  It is a great activity to teach students to link events.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Free Summer Reading Programs for 2013

As schools get ready for summer break, get your students ready for some summer learning with these summer reading programs!

Scholastic Summer Challenge 

Students can help to break a world record and earn digital rewards by logging on and recording their reading minutes. Teachers can preregister your students and compete with classes from around the world!

Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Program

Get a free book and summer reading kit by participating in Barnes and Noble's summer reading program.

Half Price Books Feed Your Brain

Students can earn a gift certificate to Half Price Books for logging their summer reading program this year. Students only have to read a minimum of about 15 minutes a day to earn this reward and students up to age 14 are included in this easy program.

Sylvan's Book Adventure

Students read and take comprehension quizzes to participate in this summer program. Points are earned based on the books read and students can select their prizes accordingly.

TD Bank's Summer Reading Program 

TD Bank will deposit $10 into a new young saver's account after they have read 10 books this summer. Students simply read 10 books, record those books onto TD Bank's sheet and bring it into any local branch. This could be a great way to encourage reading and help students learn how to save money.

Chuck E Cheese Reward Your Kids

Students record their daily reading on a printable calendar and turn in into their local Chuck E Cheese. Two weeks of daily reading results in 10 free tokens. There is a catch: food must be purchased for free token redemption.

Books a Million Summer Reading Program

Get a free Dr. Seuss insulated lunch bag by participating in BAM's summer reading program. The program starts May 19th.

Your Local Library 

Almost all local libraries have summer reading programs for kids. My local library even has a summer reading program for adults! It's always worth it to participate.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

We at One Less Headache would like to wish all the mothers out there a very happy Mother's Day!  Also, I (ETC) have also been given permission to share the exciting news that Lesson Lady is celebrating Mother's Day as a mother for the first time this year.  Her first born (a boy) is one month old.  So, if any of our followers out there in cyber space have noticed that our schedule has been a bit wonky lately and Lesson Lady's fabulous contributions have slowed a bit, that's why.  You've been stuck with me because she has her hands extra full right now!  But, mother and baby are doing well.  He is a sweet baby and she is a great mom.  Congrats to her and her family!!!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Fabulous Freebies

We, at One Less Headache appreciate you.  So, this week, for our weekly Fabulous Freebies, I'm doing something unprecedented.  Last year for teacher appreciation day what seemed to be around 100 teachers posted free lessons online for 24 hours in advance of Teachers Pay Teachers's teacher appreciation sale.  This year the only promo was the sale.  So, I've decided to post my three best selling products for free for just 24 hours.  From noon on Saturday until noon on Sunday (central time zone), the following products will be yours to download for absolutely no cost!

Spanish Centers for an Introductory Unit is my number one seller.  It contains eight stations reviewing Spanish vocabulary for time, greetings, calendar and number.  It is so versatile, you'll be sure to find a use for it in your classroom: sub plan, extra credit, early finishers, etc.

My Martian Sketch  is my second best selling item.  It has students use vocabulary for body parts in Spanish to sketch martians according to their descriptions.  It also reviews vocabulary for numbers and colors.

My Snowman Glyph is my third best seller.  Your students will love it.  They will begin by learning what a glyph is and how to use one to convey and analyze data. They will create one of their very own. Then they will look at their classmates' glyphs and analyze the data using fractions, percentages, and graphs (bar graphs and pie charts). They will have fun doing it during the cold winter months ahead. And, when they are all done, the materials can be turned into a colorful class bulletin board! Note: This is the advanced Snowman Glyph activity for 5-8 graders.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Teacher Appreciation Sale Tomorrow and Wednesday!!

Teachers Pay Teachers is throwing a Teacher Appreciation sale tomorrow and Wednesday.  Lesson Lady and Excellence in Teaching and Coaching (ETC) will have our stores marked down in addition to the 10% off offered by TpT for a full 28% off on all of our products.  Don't forget to check it out.  Just enter the promo code: TAD13.  The deals never get any better than this!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Fabulous Freebies: Cinco de Mayo!

Today is Cinco de Mayo! In honor of this fun holiday, here are some fabulous freebies you can use in your classroom this week to help celebrate Cinco de Mayo & Mexican culture. I have found in my classroom that many students love to celebrate the holidays of various cultures around the world.

Check out this Crafts for Kids page to find fun Cinco de Mayo related activities including a Mexican song, printable money worksheets, coloring pages, elementary literacy worksheets and more. There is a big variety of Cinco de Mayo items that are easy to print.

Kaboose has more than ten easy craft ideas for Cinco de Mayo. Most can be made with simple materials that are available in most classrooms. Some of the crafts are sound making and could be incorporated into a music lesson!

Making Learning Fun has learning printables for literacy and math that are geared towards early elementary students. The ideas are easy to click on and print and contain simple, clear graphics.

Find crossword puzzles, vocabulary fill in the blank sheets and more at's Cinco de Mayo printables page. Click on the image of the activity to easily print it. The puzzles and fill in the blank sheets are perfect for older students to learn about Cinco de Mayo and Mexican history.

Thanks for checking out our freebies & have a great Cinco de Mayo!
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